Letters from Readers, May 1964

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N.B.—Opinions expressed are those of our Correspondents and “Motor Sport” does not necessarily associate itself with them—Ed.

Cars as Status Symbols


I am a keen reader of Motor Sport, and have now at last been encouraged to get down to what I meant to do for a very long time already, namely, write and congratulate you on the quality of your magazine.

As a Lancia Flaminia Sports owner, I have been immensely interested by the historical article in the current issue.

I thought I would also take this occasion to send you a copy of a rather unusual and interesting idea imagined by one of my friends. For a long time now, he has sorted cars by classes of distinction, such points as price, comfort, acceleration, etc., giving way here to prestige, elegance and taste in design. Perhaps it would interest your readers, and it would certainly give them something to talk about! My friend says he can justify the classification for any make as many may seem to be in the wrong place:—


Aston Martin




Lancia Flam.







B.M.W. 3200



Jaguar X & E


Mercedes 6-300

Rover 3-litre



Alfa Romeo

Fiat 2300

Frazer Nash


Jaguar S, etc.

Lancia Flav.


Mercedes 230



Triumph TR4

Volvo Sport



Austin (all)

B.M.W. 1500





Citroën DS








Mercedes 220


Morris (all)










D.K.W. & A-Un.


Ford (all)



Karmann Ghia

Mercedes 190











Toyota, etc.




No Class

Ami 6



Opel (all)

Scaldis, Volga, etc.




M. F. Severin,

Brussels. Member, Royal Academy of Belgium.

* * *



I add support to your views in reply to the letter from Mr. Sherman on this subject (Motor Sport, March 1964). I am as fond of my skin (and my passengers’) as anyone, but I do not fit seat-belts. Apart altogether from whether anything less than a full aircraft-type harness, well-tightened, could keep one in one’s seat under really sudden deceleration, I learned quite early on in thirty-six years of quite brisk driving, without accident, how not to have to decelerate suddenly—even from heavy braking to avoid collision, still less from collision itself; and I learned also that “the other fellow’s bad driving,” as a cause of one’s own accidents, is largely a myth, fostered by those who have not yet learned the principles of safe driving, and either do not know it or prefer not to admit it.

On the other hand, “the other fellow” can obviously run up one’s tail very hard indeed when one is stationary, or nearly so. Judging by the experience of a friend of mine, whose neck was in plaster for several months after this happened to him, this is just the moment not to be wearing a harness! Three doctors told him that if his forward movement (on subsequent impact with the car in front) had been restrained by a harness, he would have been dead of a “whiplash fracture,” instead of merely having a broken neck!

Like you, Sir, I believe in allowing those who feel a need for seat-belts to wear them—though, for obvious reasons, with the advice that they either undo them when they stop at traffic lights, or make sure that their heads are no less immovable than their bodies! But do let those who want them keep a sense of proportion. The man who wears a parachute when he goes for a cliff-top walk at the seaside is obviously fond of “brinkmanship,” and cannot trust himself not to fall over. Must those who have learned to keep away from the edge wear parachutes, too?

London, S.W.20. J. Laurie.

* * *

Ode to an Allard

British racing green and not much chrome

What little there is—is going home

A few big dents but basically sound

A shark faced Allard—there’s still some around.

Had spare cash and bought her new

A long way back in fifty-two

Fitted late type engine in fifty-nine

A Chrysler unit of advanced design

A slush-pump gearbox but I should worry

There’s a hundred in third when I’m in a hurry

Turn the key and hear the twin pipes blast

Drop into first and take off fast

Multiple Holleys sucking in air

Twelve to the gallon I just don’t care

Join the Arterial and give it the gun

With the long sloping bonnet pointing into the sun

Modern sardine-tin looms up in the way

Slow down to seventy and behind him you stay

It’s one of the “masses” hogging fast lane

An abundance of chromium and a shortage of brain

Just had a rise on his hourly pay rate

Got the shiniest car on the Council Estate

He stays in the lane and just won’t be moved

“You aint gittin’ by” is his attitude.

Back in the Allard you just sound your horn

And he raises his fingers in a gesture of scorn

It was such a nice day but its suddenly gone sour

So you drop into third and turn on the power

Pull into the slow lane—it’s all clear ahead

With the rev.-counter needle going into the red

Overtake on the inside of the bright-painted tin

See the look on his face and you can’t help but grin

You’re doing a hundred in an indirect gear

The mighty exhaust note is all you can hear

The rev.-counter needle is going berserk

So you drop into top with a clutch-smashing jerk

Our ignorant friend in the new family hack

Is a speck in the distance a mile or two back

Poodling along at one hundred and five

Big vee-eight starts to come alive

A battered old war-horse but she fills me with glee

She cats Jaguars for breakfast and Triumphs for tea

Allard owners everywhere

Sidney’s with you, don’t despair

Basildon. C. R. D. Hill.

[The way to lose your licence, of course—and do slush-pumps and clutches mate? But still. . . .—Ed.]

* * *

Austin for Dependability


It must be twenty years since I last wrote to Motor Sport. But the patronising tone of the Editor’s notes on “A Big Austin” in your March issue coupled with his fulsome review of the Citroën DW sends me to my typewriter.

It so happens that my last three motor cars have been a DS, an A99 and an A110.

I agree with much that is said about the DS. When it is working it is a delightful motor car but, oh! how frequently it does not work, and oh! how frequently mine did not work for me.

It was purchased in December 1956 and, although such memories are bitter and one has done one’s best to suppress them, I am pretty sure that it is true to say that for the next six months I never went more than one hundred miles from home without being towed in. This was not always due to the advanced design—the windscreen shattered, the gearbox went, a drop-arm on the steering sheared and, of course, the hydraulics were always likely to pack up—immobilisation on a foggy November evening at 6 p.m. on a Saturday in the Harrow Road still looms up. The only joy in taking it to France was the fact that when it did break down they would understand the car and be able to do something to repair it. This was in complete contra-distinction to the horror of their English opposite numbers, who raised the bonnet, turned pale and, with tears in their eyes and a sob in their voice, implored you to take it elsewhere.

The A99, was of course comparatively unexciting and less glamorous. It meant nothing as a status symbol at school Speech Days, but it got me there and back and never let me down. As far as it and its successor are concerned I rate them as excellent family cars, and the children, who are fairly keen critics, announce that a ride in the back is preferable for 3/400 miles to that in the DS. Last summer the A110 took five of us down to the Spanish border at an average of 26.5 miles to the gallon.

I normally do nearly 20,000 miles a year and when I sold the DS after five years it registered 65,000 miles on the clock. The difference of 35,000 represented the time that it had been in the garage under repair during my period of ownership. My garage, who are excellent at their job, learned a lot from it, but when I disposed of the car they felt the burden was too great to shoulder by themselves and they gave up the Agency.

Mr. Editor, please be a little bit fairer to the more conventional. When a car is part of one’s job reliability rates very high in desirable virtues and perhaps as one grows older the glamour of the unusual fades somewhat. EHEU!

Lincoln. C. A. Lillicrap, M.D., F.R.C.P.

* * *

Rolls-Royce in the Air


On reading the letter in your March edition from Mr. W. A. Chew of Bristol, I cannot help thinking that the heading should have been that of the letter below it, i.e.,”Fiction.”

I have often been tempted to write in reply to letters in your excellent magazine, which I have been taking for some three years or so, and at last I cannot resist it. Firstly, concerning the Bristol Siddeley powered aircraft quoted by Mr. Chew: the Vulcan—obsolescent; the TSR2 and Concorde—lacking in orders; the “revolutionary” P.1127 and P.1154—both produced by Hawker Siddeley of the same combine. All British note, except for interests in the Concorde.

May I now mention just a few of the current Rolls-Royce-powered aircraft: the Victor and the Valiant, the remainder of our V-bomber force; the R.A.F.’s Hunters and Lightnings; the Comet, admittedly semi-obsolete, but still going strong; a proportion of the Boeing 707s; the R.A.F.’s Argosy transport; the new BAC.111, and DeHavilland Trident—over 100 of these two ordered; the new V.C.10—one of the world’s largest airliners; the future Phantom for the Royal Navy and S.T.O.L. Hawker Siddeley 681 tactical transport for the R.A.F.; V.T.O.L. aircraft by Dassault (France), Dornier (Germany) and Fiat (Italy). In fact, over 50% of all the civil aircraft outside the Iron Curtain are powered by Rolls-Royce engines.

On the subject of the Best Car in the World, by the way, someone wrote as suggested a letter addressed simply to “The Best Car in the World,” and it arrived at Rolls-Royce Ltd.

It may not have escaped your attention that the “old-fashioned” (according to Mr. Boddy) Rolls-Royce is still chosen by affluent types in many spheres. Even Sammy Davis jnr. and Shell like it!

I hope this will give your Bristol dreamer something to “chew” upon.

Derby. O. Manning.

* * *

Bentley Experiences


As a former Rolls-Royce owner (a 1928 Phantom I tourer) and as a present Bentley owner (1939 4¼-litre overdrive MR series and a 1951 Mark VI), I had intended to sit back and enjoy the various letters I was sure your editorial would provoke. However, as an American who has resided in England three different periods during the last ten years, I feel that something a little more objective should be forthcoming from “our side” than Mr. Buess’s “smart alec” critique (I could almost hear his gum cracking as he composed his epistle).

The Rolls and MR Bentley fall into the category of “hobby cars.” The Rolls was in my possession for six years after I acquired it in England in 1952. Four years later I took the car back to the States and regretfully disposed of it just prior to returning to England late in 1958.

The MR Bentley was acquired in London early in 1959 and has made the “round trip” having spent two years in the States, then returning with me during the summer of 1962. Naturally, it will make the final emigration sometime in the future.

All this background is just an attempt to establish myself as an enthusiast of sorts if the appreciation of fine machinery is any criterion. Also, as a matter of perspective, I would like to point out most of my motoring mileage-wise since 1954 has been behind the wheel of sports cars (TR2 and an XK140M).

My Mark VI is my present “working-car.” However, I have just completed 28,000 miles since purchasing it in the fall of 1962 and to say the car is beyond criticism would be very foolish indeed. Perhaps to enumerate some of its “faults” would be a good way to begin.

Besides a deplorable design feature that ensures a rusting out of the doors, I feel that Rolls-Royce in its evolution to automatic transmission as standard equipment, made bottom gear a rather useless appendage on the post-war product except for an extremely steep hill-start. I much prefer the gearbox on my 1939 Bentley with a bottom gear perfectly adequate for steep hill starting, yet having-four gears which one really uses. The Mark VI is also rather sluggish off-the-mark when starting in 2nd year as recommended by the maker, “under normal conditions.”

A complaint rather than a fault of the automobile itself is the expense when something goes “wrong”; for example, when my dynamo stopped charging I was informed at Willesden that they only fitted rebuilt replacement units. This was quickly and efficiently installed in my car to the tune of £24, and I drove off wondering if perhaps all I had needed was a new set of brushes.

However, I can think of no other 13-year-old car which, I imagine, has travelled well over 150,000 miles, that would be so silent and rattle-free, to the point of bringing comment on this fact from everyone who rides in the car for the first time. Also, I find it a rather good “A to B” car when driving on relatively long journeys in England, and its handling qualities seem to me to compare quite favourably with any other large saloon that I have driven, though admittedly the car is driven rather sedately and more in the 60 to 65 m.p.h. cruising range than in the 75 to 80 m.p.h.

The seating is definitely the most comfortable for prolonged driving that I have ever encountered and I am what you would call a satisfied owner who has a car that suits his needs.

As for the “best car in the World,” I am sure the Rolls-Royce product is just that to many people, but whether it deserves the title is certainly open to question, as is, indeed, the Mercedes product. Personally, I would tend to favour one of those delicious Ferrari GTs if I had the wherewithal.

I must admit to some doubt as to whether the original Rolls/Bentley owner gets his money’s worth when purchasing the car, but I feel they are definitely good value for money to the subsequent owners, providing this is the transportation one wants.

In closing, may I venture the guess that a large majority of the correspondence you receive on this subject will be from owners of the “older” models. Perhaps the “most durable car in the World” would be more accurate?

London. R. Hicks.

* * *

Costly Insurance


In response to an inquiry regarding the relative cost of insuring a Triumph Vitesse or a Spitfire the Company kindly sent me two propositions, one of which was intended specifically for “Personal Export” customers, of whom I expect to be one since I intend to use my car in Spain for most of the year.

First, however, allow me to quote from the Automobile Association publication “Motoring in Europe,” published in February 1963. Under the heading “Insurance—Your Green Card” we read . . . “You are no more likely to have an accident abroad than you are at home; but if you should be unlucky,” etc., etc.

Now let us examine the first insurance proposal. This restricts driving to the insured, limits passenger liability to £5,000 per accident, and requires the insurer to carry a £25 excess on all claims. This is for the Spitfire, and for this generous cover the cost if under 25 or over 30 is £66 for use in England. If, however, I export the car after one month in England, then I have to pay an additional £67 for using the car for the rest of the year on the Continent. This makes a total of £133. Since the basic price of the car is about £530, it would take just four years at this rate to provide a brand new car!

The second proposition is more reasonable but still “haywire.” In this case the basic rate for 12 months (outside the London area) is only £21. Fair enough, you say; well it is, but then the insurers know that you are “Personal Export” wallah and will have to get out before six months have expired. If you do not, however, for £21 you can also spend one month on the Continent at no extra cost at all! But if you spend one month in the U.K. and eleven months on the Continent then this:

Basic rate .. £21 0 0

First two months abroad .. £17 10 0

Next nine months abroad .. £45 0 0

Total .. £83 10 0

So the cost of my insurance is increased from £21 to £83 10s., an increase of over 300% in spite of what the Automobile Association tell us, i.e., that we are no more likely to have an accident abroad than at home!

There is no name on the first “proposition ” described above; the more reasonable one emanates from Steel Bros. and Higgins (Insurance) Ltd., of 26, Fenchurch Street, whose P.R.O. will no doubt provide us with some enlightenment—I wonder!

Calcutta. K. G. Bell.

* * *

Hobbs or B.-W.?


Recently there have been a number of articles devoted to the subject of automatic gearboxes on the smaller Ford cars. The Sunday Express and the Motor covered the Corsair, and the Autocar the Cortina Super; the gearbox in each case being the Borg Warner “35.”

The general gist of the articles being: that despite the inherent failings of a torque converter style of transmission, namely, complexity, power loss and increased thirst, there was still a definite place for automatics, especially with the ever-increasing traffic density. They all agreed, however, that at times a gear-lever was still preferable.

The point that really annoyed me was the implication that if a Ford 1500 owner wanted the advantages of an automatic he had to be willing to accept the limitations of the Borg Warner “35.” This is far from the case, as he is in the unique position of having the option on a four-speed, mechanically-driven, race-proven automatic for a smaller net outlay. The reason I emphasise this is that I have just so equipped my Cortina GT and am completely sold on it.

At this point, I would mention that I do not pretend to be in the “Foss or Fandango ” class of automobilist. Nevertheless, last year I did support le sport in a Lotus 7, providing “commercial” viewing for the public once the leaders had passed.

This is purely to emphasise that the 3,000 miles that my Westinghouse-Hobbs automatic has done since fitting have not been slow miles, and have included many demonstrations and subsequent “converts” amongst the most critical of motorists.

Why in heaven’s name don’t Ford take it up? Is it purely American pressure in favour of the Borg Warner “35.” After all, Tommy Sopwith has a GT with one and I have heard a filthy rumour that a Ford P.R.O. has seen the light.

Surprisingly, I have no “angle,” only a sincere desire to see a Motor Sport wooden spoon blooded in a good cause.

Disley. J. Chivers , B.SC.

* * *

Lucas Batteries


John A. Everett states in your February issue that a Lucas battery “expires with unfailing regularity (have you noticed?) after 25 months.”

I live 20 miles from the Equator, at an altitude of 4,000 feet. Here, then, in January 1953, I had a new Lucas 12-volt battery. It lasted me 3½ years; during that period it was once laid up for three months—on charge—while I was on overseas leave.

My second battery was a cheap one, to last me the 18 months before I sold that car.

My next battery was a Lucas, 12-volt also. It lasted three years, seven months, again having been laid up for three months, but this time emptied.

My present Lucas has at the moment been in daily use for two years, eight months (once laid up for four months), and I hope it will see me through until I sell the car on leaving Uganda next March. Most of my motoring is in town with stopping and starting.

Perhaps Mr. Everett does not know how to look after his battery by simple topping-up; or perhaps those hot English summers take their toll!

Kampala, Uganda. W. D. Marquis.

* * *

Good Service


Regarding Mr. Bergel’s letter in your March issue concerning Insurance Companies, I insure with the National Employers Mutual and General, and have done so for 30 years.

On January 30th this year I sent in a claims form to them; on Tuesday, February 4th the assessor was at my garage, and also met me as well; on Thursday, February 6th a cheque for £75, in settlement of my claim, was through my letter-box, first post.

Can you beat that for really good service from a good company?

Hawkhurst. E. McCann.

* * *

Out of Print


I read with interest your Editorial on the changing faces of motor journals.

I recall with nostalgia the intense pleasure I used to derive from The Motor and The Autocar, published, respectively, on Tuesdays and Fridays, at 4d. each.

What a pity these journals are no longer on the bookstalls. Thank goodness Motor Sport is still published, refuses to resort to the popular approach and isn’t full of stunts and tear-out coupons.

Gidea Park. M. W. Clayton.

* * *

The Car that has Almost Nothing


These days we are always hearing about the car that has everything. You may be interested to hear from somebody who is pleased that his car has not got all the following items. It has no water, radiator, hoses, clips, core plugs, anti-freeze, thermostats, etc. (air-cooled engine). No prop.-shaft is fitted—or wanted! No tappets, push-rods, or timing chain—o.h.c. engine with drive by eccentric links. No exhaust manifold, or yards of pipe with associated clips, leaks, etc. The silencer itself bolts straight onto the engine.

Starter and dynamo combined, and also the cooling fan, are mounted directly on the crankshaft, thereby dispensing with the teeth (chippable!) on the flywheel and associated Bendix drive, springs, etc. Also no fan belt is required.

When the car is locked the battery and petrol tank are inaccessible to the casual pilferer.

It has got a flat floor, with no trailing wires, pipes, cables, or water traps. Undersealed as standard. It has only two grease nipples and one oil change (every 4,500 miles). It is fitted as standard with heater, washers, demisters, headlamp flasher, electric clock, seven fuses, and parking lamps. Very light and quick rack-and-pinion steering and powerful brakes complete a superb design.

The only question which remains is: “Did the German designers purposely eliminate these items or did they all just get lost accidentally?”

Knowledgeable readers will already have guessed the car—N.S.U. Prinz 4. Usual disclaimers.

Luton. “YBM 741.”

* * *

To the M.O.T.


In view of the fact that you (Mr. Marples) claim speed restrictions reduce holiday accident figures, how do you account for the big fall at Easter, when no restrictions were in force?

No, Ernie, restrictions are no substitute for skilled driving.

Anglo-Chinese proverb: “Bad carpenter strike nail with tentative blows, bad job, extremely flat thumb. Good carpenter hit fast and true, sink nail, velly good.”

Educate the A-to-B motorist, the enthusiast lets nothing distract him.

Hemingford Green. G. Ingle.

* * *

Home Maintenance


I was interested to see from Michael Hart’s letter that I am not the only person who has been disgusted by the inaccuracies of the Sunday Times “Olyslager” manuals.

In the manual on the Austin A70, the outside diameter of the rocker shaft is given as greater than the inside diameter of the rocker shaft bushes. In the manual on the B.M.C. Minis, the illustration of the rear brake is that of a Saab(!) and the details on distributor types for low and high octane fuels are reversed from the correct types. Any attempt to follow these books too closely will undoubtedly prove disastrous. For the average owner-driver they are quite useless, as they go to great lengths on such matters as gearbox dismantling but skim over the more usually-needed repairs, such as brake overhauls.

Incidentally, I have spent five months on a complete mechanical and body rebuild of a Fiat 500 Belvedere. Getting the correct spares for these cars is a nightmare and Fiat (England) Ltd. could supply neither a handbook nor even such elementary information as the correct tappet clearances or torque settings for the cylinderhead and big-end bolts.

A pox on all these “furrin” Varmints, say I!

Pangbourne. A. L. Pullen.

* * *

Index Letters


Have your readers ever been fascinated, as I have, by the taboos imposed on Index Marks? GOD and JEW are understandably not allowed. WC and BF, it they are to be respectable, must have a letter placed in front of them, and this procedure has been adopted by Essex and Staffordshire.

You may keep a RAT in Hull, but not an APE in Surrey. The DOG is allowed to stray in Birmingham, surely already an overcrowded city. And I should like to have heard the City Fathers debating the suitability of BUG and its concomitants, and later deciding that in Leeds a FUG is quite in order.

Pulling the legs of local authorities is a healthy national pastime, and I am glad that in our county we can produce nothing more laughable than the climatic ROT and the domestic (or childish) POT.

Barton-on-Sea, Hampshire. W. W. MacLellan.

[And we like drivers who proclaim publicly that they are MAD, BAD or a CAD.—Ed.]

* * *

The VW 1500S


Your impressions of the 1500S VW in the present issue were of some interest to me, as I have had one of the station Car (standard) versions of this beast for seven months. I think you have been away from Wolfsburg motoring for too long, for your report hardly touches the main reason for the existence of this, as every other, VW, namely a most excellent finish, modest fuel consumption, and the indescribable feeling of oneness with this taut, eminently comfortable and lastable car, that grows with the years. In none of these respects is it dated; in fact, in all it seems to me to be still a long way ahead, notably of British products in the same price range, import duty and all.

The switches, Sir, require the lightest of pressure, and exactly fit the pad of the normal finger; if you found them fumbly, your fingers certainly weren’t sensitive, and if your fingers were sensitive, you would never touch the edges you mention, and you would soon have grown to realise that this is the easiest and lightest way to switch there is at present—this has been one of the most attractive things about the car for me.

I think you have had a car in a deplorable state of maladjustment to get the fuel consumption you quote—or else your driving is just as deplorable. Drive as I can in a machine that is heavier, and known to be a less efficient burner of petrol, I can’t get less than 28 m.p.g. in town driving; and on the country roads, cruising at 70, 36-38 m.p.g. [I got 38 m.p.g. regularly from a 1955 VW 1200.—Ed.]

You mention the handling as being far below the Issigonis rubber marvels in standard, and with this I cannot agree, specially if driving comfort is included in this word, for few of us have the scoliosis to be comfortable at those angled steering wheels; and, while I have only driven a beetle in the tropics where roads are often a series of monumental potholes, ridges, and corrugations, there is no reason to think that the 1500 would be any less safe. On such roads the 1100S can be most uncomfortable, as well as having a too-low sump, and on these roads I much preferred a VW, or a Citroën or a Mercedes, but not anything from B.M.C.

I do feel you have done less than justice to a very fine car; especially as your attitude has been mainly that of a stopwatch: in my profession we have to spend too much time patching up speed-crazed humanity for me to have any respect for or interest in this racing mania. I can think of many unnecessary tragedies cutting short the lives of healthy young people who had put in their hands machinery fast well beyond their ability to control, while I cannot think of any way in which such activity has enriched or enlarged life, or even made it more useful. Speed is irrelevant to the pleasure of motoring, which surely is a compound of artistry and finesse and some love of the countryside, always putting no other section of mankind at any risk.

Maybe next time you will have a car with at least 10,000 miles up, with timing just a shade ahead of recommended, and maybe if you leave the stopwatch behind, you will begin to really appreciate what it is to drive a car of first-class design and finish.

Belfast. G. J. Cole.

[The VW usually shows up better when performance figures are not taken but this shouldn’t apply to the VW 1500S. The car submitted was obviously out of sorts but it was recalled too soon for us to do anything about this. I hope one day I may have longer experience of the latest VWs and that some of my old enthusiasm will be rekindled. But, you know, design does march on. . .Ed.]

* * *

Another Spiel From Fred Buess, Junior

My Dear Boddy,

No, as usual, you have the facts all twisted. This is indeed unfortunate because there are so many gullible souls who take everything they see in print as gospel truth, which makes a person like you even more of a menace. To top it off you can’t even read, or perhaps you don’t understand what you read. I said I GET Motor Sport only for the classified ads. In other words, if you deleted your classified section I would drop my subscription. I read parts of your rag that interest me, including you, Mr. Boddy.

For your interest, I have had some comment to my letter from England which has given me a clue as to just how highly you are regarded by some of your countrymen. I think now is the time to get down off your soapbox and start printing only facts as you know them. Let’s face it, you really don’t know a thing about a Rolls-Royce, so you can’t speak with any authority on the subject. Your dribble about not naming any car except the one from Crewe as World’s Best until you’ve driven one should be unscrambled to read that you should not say that the Crewe Product is NOT the World’s Best until you’ve driven one. I repeat, if you don’t know, don’t knock it.

While I’m on the subject, I maintain there is no such thing as the “Best car in the World,” anyway. (With due apologies to Rolls-Royce, Ltd.) It’s a matter of personal taste and opinion. What satisfies you couldn’t possibly satisfy me. You go into raptures over cars I consider pure junk. Citroën, to name one. I couldn’t tolerate a Volkswagen five minutes, and I consider a modern Mercedes an extremely unrefined motor car. Your statement of not being sure if you want to become a Rolls owner or not because of what I said, is really a laugh. Let’s face facts, Boddy. You wouldn’t become a Rolls owner REGARDLESS of what anyone said. You don’t appreciate fine cars and wouldn’t know one if you saw it.

Just to illustrate my point a bit more, I’m sending you some pages from the May Car & Driver. You will note that the Silver Cloud III is considered the Best Luxury Car. It seems everyone knows this but you. You will probably counter this by saying that everyone is out of step but you. You will also note that the Mercedes 600 is fifth down the list. Even a Buick is a better car than a Mercedes, Boddy. (Which isn’t saying much.) Am also sending a Mercedes ad. You will note the 600 sedan is $19,000.00 (over £6,000, Boddy). It’s too bad that you don’t have the “right kind of money” or you too could have one. By the way, I note that the 600 has the same grille as the 190D. I think this is carrying “grille engineering” a bit too far, don’t you?

Someone once said that the man who belittles Rolls-Royce is really to be pitied, so you see, Boddy, I really feel quite sorry for you. Print this one and merely dig your grave deeper.

Glendale 3, California. Fred W. Buess, Jr.

[For a laugh, yes, I will. Am a bit puzzled, however, why, because one American journal rates a car as the best in the luxury class, Buess Junior claims that everyone knows this to be true. And like all people who specialise in sarcasm, Buess Junior gets it mixed up—whereas R.-R. and Bentley differ only in their radiator grilles, the Mercedes-Benz 600 and 190D are technically different cars. My grave is now decently deep, presumably—and thank goodness I do not have to share it with this Rolls-Royce Clubman from California. Isn’t it astonishing, though, that everyone, from the humblest specialist-trader to R.-R. themselves, carefully avoids arranging for me to drive one of these cars? I really shall have to buy one, and as Buess Junior tells me no R.-R. has ever worn out, age, price and condition will obviously be quite immaterial.—Ed.]